When words and works don’t match

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the Democrats narrowed the “God gap” to 12 points in the most recent election. The “God gap” is the percentage of frequent church goers who preferred Republicans to Democrats. Twelve percent might seem like an overwhelming majority, but it was 19 points in 2004 and 20 points in 2002.

So what is happening?

From what I have read and heard, thought leaders in the evangelical Christian community are starting to question their focus of only opposing abortion and gay rights. They are starting to realize that their past support for a narrow cultural agenda didn’t translate into a larger set of policies that they recognized as Christian. The same party that advocated making abortion illegal and gay marriage unconstitutional also covered up corruption and perversion, ignored the poor and suffering, and continues to advocate a failing foreign policy.

Perhaps manipulation is too strong a word, but thoughtful Christians are beginning to reject the politics of division and instead embrace a new centrist view. That view says that we have to learn how to work together if we want to fulfill our God-given mission to help and heal those in need.

Rick Warren, author of the best selling book “The Purpose Driven Life” and pastor of Saddleback Church, a mega church in California, is one. He has grown tired of the Evangelical movement only being known for what it is against and not for that it is for.

He has made AIDS the focus of his congregation. As a result, he has even found common ground with liberal pro-choice politicians like Borak Obama. When questioned about his willingness to work with those who don’t share his cultural agenda, Warren said he does not really care what different paticipants’ motives are or “why people do good as long as they do good.”

Jesus, like Rick, had a big tent too. He preferred associating with sinners, prostitutes, and lowlifes. He challenged the hypocrisy of His religious leaders by healing on the Sabbath and refusing to stone an adulterer. He also frequently reminded his followers that their job was to “go and do likewise”.

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? An the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matt. 25:37-40

It is the works and not the words that make us Christians.

2 Responses to “When words and works don’t match”

  1. Mary says:

    Jesus did not come to earth to make us behave, he came because he knew we couldn’t behave and he bridged the gap. He loves people so much they want to do the right thing. He earned the right to say difficult things to the individual because he invested himself in the relationship. I like what I am hearing from your site so far. We “Christians” need to stop acting as if certain sins like; living a gay lifestyle, or abortion are in a special class of sins that are more hideous to God than gossip or cheating on your taxes.

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Mary,

    Thanks for your response.

    When Jesus was asked by some self-righteous jewish officials why he associated with what they regarded as lowlifes, He told them that they were the ones who needed his help. In other words, it was His mission to bring all to God.

    This was radical thought then, and for some it may be radical thought now too. The only folks that Jesus condemned were those hard-hearted hypocrites who thought themselves somehow better than their brothers. That’s a high calling for all of us.

    Thanks again for you kind thoughts.

    Jeff

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